Naomi and I worked the booth at Boston Pride last weekend, went to sleep celebrating our community and grateful for time with good friends. We awoke to news that a shooting had taken place in Orlando, at a gay bar. We watched in horror as the death toll mounted, imagining the devastation to the patrons and their families.
As business owners and members of the LGBTQ community, the travesty in Orlando has left Naomi and I deeply saddened. Our entire team has felt this loss at a very deep level. It's hard to shake.
I came out in the early 80s and have been to more than my fair share of gay bars. They were a safe haven where we could go and be ourselves. Kiss each other openly, flirt confidently and let our hair down in a big gay way.
Until two days ago I couldn't have imagined how anyone could go to a gay bar and not feel the incredibly positive vibe without rejoicing. This atrocious crime was committed in a sanctum of safety for people who have been marginalized, humiliated and disrespected for who they are for most of their lives.
We mourn the lives lost because as a community, we are all one. We've danced together, loved each other, laughed together, and celebrated together. We are all human, and gay bars and Pride parades are all expressions of our humanity.
Therefore we cannot and will not let terror define us. If we stand together in the face of this fear we will prevail. The LGBTQ community is going to get through this. Just like we always do. If you look around you'll see that in a very big way, our country has become our ally. And the tragic loss of our brothers and sisters will remain a beacon of a time that our country came together and said enough is enough.
Last year we came out in droves to celebrate Pride in marriage equality. This year we need to come out in droves to show our solidarity and refusal to cower in fear. The LGBTQ community needs to show up. Straight allies need to show up. Because somewhere over the rainbow blue birds fly.